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Interview: Properties and Application of Indium Metal (Part 5)

  • Indium

  • Back in 2013, Carol Gowans was interviewed by Kalwinder Kaur for an article which appeared on AZO Materials’ website. The full article can be found here. I thought they brought up many good points – let’s take a closer look:

    Question: Is there any concern over availability of indium? How would you address these concerns?

    Answer: The US Geologic Survey (USGS) states that indium is more abundant than silver. Indium Corporation’s in-depth calculations regarding the world’s supply of indium reveals that indium-bearing raw materials exist abundantly - worldwide based on current consumption, the availability of virgin indium, and the recycle rate of existing supplies of indium - and there is enough indium to last for about 100 years.

    For more information on this topic, I can refer to you to two articles. One is located on our website, The Availability of Indium and Gallium. The other is a recently published article in Compound Semiconductor, “Indium: Scarcity claim is scaremongering.””

    If you’re interested in examples of indium scaremongering, here’s a blog post you might find interesting:

    Doomsday Prediction of Indium Supply Disproved                              

    And here’s a follow-up question that was asked:

    Question: What is being done to optimize indium supply?

    Answer: There are two identified areas that are improving the indium supply: improved extraction and enhanced reclaim.

    Indium is a by-product of zinc mining. By improving the efficiency of the extraction, and adding capacity to current extraction operations at the base metal smelters, more indium is converted refined indium.

    Reclaimed indium strongly augments the virgin indium supply chain. Since so much indium is being converted into ITO targets for display coating applications, the unused portion of these targets is easily reclaimed and the indium reused. These processes have been improving in efficiency and speed so that now about 2/3 of the annual indium consumption consists of reclaimed material.

    The indium supply chain is easily able to address all forecasted demand.”

    Here is more information on reclaiming and recycling indium.